My baby died. What does it mean to you?
Let’s talk about death. No? Does this topic make you feel uncomfortable? Awkward? Queasy even? I understand. To a point. I mean, we do live in a world where staying young is THE thing to achieve. We have facelifts, tummy tucks, we are on ridiculous diets and apply ten different cremes and tonics to look and stay young. Damn you, you cursed wrinkles! No one wants to see aging on themselves or face the fact that we are heading towards the end – at any one point in our life.
I admit, that is a bit dark. Like anyone else, I never thought about death much. I always knew it would happen eventually but not now. Not in a long time. And then, I encountered death in a place I certainly never thought it has its place – in my womb. I fell pregnant, carried the baby for a short time and then death swooped in and took him from me. Until that point, I faintly knew that death can be present at birth or during pregnancies but I found that fact so ludicrious. I mean, really? When a new life starts, death can be present? How messed up is that? It is very messed up. To this day, I would prefer death had no place when it comes to babies. But here we are – my baby died. Someone I never met but so dearly loved had died.
To me, my whole world came crashing down. To those around me, nothing changed. It was a little hiccup in my life at best, no big deal. I was met with disinterest and ignorance. I already wrote about some ‘lovely’ words I had to hear regarding my loss. They still infuriate me. And they make me wonder: what does my loss mean to those around me? Nothing.
I struggled with that for such a long time and I still do. I wish there were a few more people who would remember the day my baby died with me. But I have no one. Now, if you are reading this as a person who knows someone who lost a baby, I ask you: What does this mean to you? Do you care? What are you going to say? Would you prefer not to mention that dead baby ever again? You know, those thoughts are normal and you don’t have to deny them. But DO NOT let them stop you from helping your friend, sister, cousin or co-worker to remember and honour her tiny little bean. Tell them you are sorry. Give them a hug. Show them that their baby means something to you. Mean it. As always, stay clear of those terrible empty phrases like ‘at least you know you can get pregnant’ or ‘everything happens for a reason’. Stay silent instead and maybe use the time to reflect on what death means to you and why you never think about it that much. It might make you feel uncomfortable but it will also make you a better friend, sibling, relative and co-worker. What you, as an outsider, probably don’t know is that death has some very powerful friends. Loneliness is one of them. A silence so deafening it hurts, is another. When a baby dies in the early stages of pregnancy, society dictates that we are not supposed to care. Hence, we brush off any attempt a babyloss mum makes to talk about her baby and we make her feel bad for having the ‘audacity’ to remember her tiny little bean. With our actions, we pressure her into silence and we greet her the next time with contempt, maybe even disgust. As a result, you are well off while your friend, sister, relative or co-worker drowns in loneliness and desperation. All she wanted to do is talk about her grief, her baby, the what ifs, what could have been and what she just lost.
Don’t be a dick. Listen, say little and give a hug. She will get better, slowly, but she will. Her baby died and that is a big deal and hard to deal with. What does it mean to you?